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State Lab Tests For Omicron Variant, None Found So Far


Scientists at Michigan’s state laboratory in Lansing are screening COVID samples in search of the Omicron variant, officials confirm the presence of the variant on the West Coast.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it’s found no evidence of the Omicron variant after sequencing more than 31-thousand virus samples. The mutation first identified in South Africa has since spurred many countries to impose strict travel measures to curb its spread. On Wednesday, health officials in California confirmed a case of the variant in the state.

Dr. Victor DiRita chairs the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University. He said COVID will continue to mutate as long as it still circulates in the population. DiRita sid the question now is how aggressive the Omicron variant may be.

“We would have to concern ourselves more with whether we have a virus that’s both more transmissible and more dangerous and right now, we don’t know the answer to that from Omicron at all.”

DiRita said the greatest risk is among people who remain unvaccinated.

Kevin Lavery has been news director at WKAR since September 2006.